Beaufort Police provide update on homicide case

Beaufort Police provide update on homicide case

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - A suspect has been arrested after a 70-year-old woman was found dead in her Beaufort home on Oct. 9.

The Beaufort Police Department arrested Jermain Lamont Thurston on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

Chief Matthew Clancy said Theresa Coker knew her killer. The 70-year-old was found dead in her home by workers from her rental company there to replace a door. An autopsy by the Medical University of South Carolina showed she was killed on Oct. 2.

Police say Coker had only lived at that home on Polk Street about two months and lived alone.

The man charged with her murder, 42-year-old Thurston, was in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping but got out on community supervision parole in April.

Thurston lived in the Seabrook area and police confirmed Coker’s vehicle was found near that area.

42-year-old Jermaine Thurston
42-year-old Jermaine Thurston (Source: WTOC)

“We got information from people who had seen him in the area and things like that. Like, every piece adds up,” Chief Clancy said.

Thurston was arrested for parole violation, but evidence that was fast-tracked and processed by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office forensics lab linked him to the crime scene and he was charged Tuesday.

Police said Thurston had done yard work for Coker, and according to a neighbor, she had told them that she was afraid of a man who did yard work for her previously.

“What we saw was a gentleman walking through her property that I know she was having problems with, because she told us she was scared of him. The guy was harassing her, because he wanted to clean her yard for money and he was scaring her, because he was being very persistent, you know, because we’re the ones that have been cleaning the yard and helping her,” neighbor Gino Iavarone said.

Police say no motive is known, but they believe he acted alone. Police said there were no signs of a struggle.

“The house was in a disarray but can’t say definitively right now if anything was taken as part of the ongoing investigation,” Beaufort Police Sgt. Charles Raley said.

Police are still investigating and ask you to call if you have any information on this case.

Thurston is currently in the Beaufort County Detention Center and is scheduled to be in court again in January of 2020.

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